Retailers, consumers and prices
When is Olympic sponsorship money well spent? A Performance Research poll shows it may depend on how the funds are used.
Sixty-eight percent of Americans polled confirmed the Olympic sponsorship of Coke and McDonald’s, followed closely by 66 percent for Visa, Performance Research said. Those three companies also were listed as having consumers’ favorite Olympic TV commercials and doing the most to support the Games.
“They start their advertising early and they’re continuous with it,” Performance Research President Jed Pearsall said of the three companies’ success. “They’re always reminding people they’re Olympic sponsors.”
Apparently not Chico’s FAS. The mature women’s chain, which operates Chico’s, White House/Black Market and Soma Intimates chains, has made major strides in making its merchandise more fashionable in the past year, and has been rewarded with stellar results in the third quarter and shares that are up eightfold in the last year.
The move towards trendier– dare we say, sexier – clothes helped sales this autumn rise 13.3 percent and allowed the chain to win market share while rivals such as Talbots and Clearwater Coldwater Creek continued to struggle. (A year and a half ago, U.S. gold medalist Michael Phelps’ mother Debbie boasted that her Olympics’ wardrobe at the Beijing Games came from Chico’s.)
There are very few things to laugh about in the retail world at the moment, but JP Morgan analyst Brian Tunick did a great job of adding some humor to what was a difficult week, especially for Gymboree.
Gymboree gave a bleak forecast for its first quarter, saying regulatory changes related the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act passed by the Congress in August 2008 will impact sales and gross margins in the first half of 2009. The act required the Consumer Product Safety Commission to begin enforcement of new lead and phthalate standards for children’s products on Feb. 10, 2009.
We won't be tempted by puns. Or any sort of lame wordplay. We'll play this straight. Seriously. Here goes: After all the bad publicity caused by a photo of Michael Phelps apparently taking a bong hit, Kellogg has decided to dump the superswimmer.
Okay, now that's out of the way. Here's the basics from Reuters:
The world's largest cereal maker said on Thursday it would not extend a contract with Phelps, who charmed audiences in Beijing last year with a record-breaking, eight-gold medal haul, saying the photo of the swimmer was inconsistent with its public image.
Michael Phelps, the U.S. swimmer who won eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics (perhaps you have heard of him), is taking his rightful place amongl U.S. sports stars: on a cereal box.
But not on a box of Wheaties, the General Mills cereal that began putting athletes on the box of “The Breakfast of Champions” in 1934 with Lou Gehrig.
Phelps, instead, will appear on rival Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes and Corn Flakes boxes.
Kellogg said that Phelps will be featured on boxes that are expected to hit store shelves in mid-September. The announcement came in a news release that also told us “He’s Gr-r-r-eight!”
Marta Cyhan, Kellogg’s ice President, global promotions, said in the release that Kellogg sponsors both the U.S. Olympic team and Phelps.
A spokeswoman also said that company has also featured past U.S. Olympians like Peggy Fleming, Bonnie Blair and Kristi Yamaguchi on its boxes.
By the way, the first swimmer shown on a Wheaties box on the Wheaties website? Esther Williams on a 1959 box that promoted the opportunity to win an Esther Williams Swimming Pool.
Clothing company Warnaco got to boast about the strength of its Calvin Klein jeans and underwear business last week when it reported much better-than-expected earnings and raised its full-year outlook.
Now the company, whose stock rose 6 percent yesterday to a new 52-week high, says it is feeling “the Phelps factor” as U.S. Olympian swimmer Michael Phelps racks up the gold medals in Beijing, at times while wearing the company’s new Speedo LZR suit.